This is a follow-up post (I am few months behind actually getting this post up) to an announcement we made in 2011 with our data harmonization deal with FourSquare. Since that time we have done the same thing with OpenTable and TripAdvisor and have launched an internal DealsAPI (soon to be public, check out our DEALS API page) which aggregates local deals.
So what is data harmonization. In a nutshell, it is matching two separate databases and matching the records that are the same. In the case of local, its about mapping business “A” in one database to the same business “A” in the second database. Google was one of the first real data matching pioneers when they were aggregating local content from many sources into their place pages (remember those good old days).
What is really more important is the output of doing this. The output of matching data boils down to a creating a better and more robust user experience by combining presenting information from multiple sources to help users make better decisions.
So in practice here is what the end product looks like.
Let’s take a look at Tipperary’s Pub on YellowPages.ca. As an aside; if you like thick crust pizza, this is one of the best places in Calgary.
Here is an image of the standard information you would expect; name, address, map. Notice right above the map on the right hand side is the first indication that this listing has additional content from TripAdvisor.
When you scroll down the page the user has a couple of sources of reviews to look at. Reviews that comes from YellowPages.ca users and reviews that come from TripAdvisor
To the right hand side on the page, the user also has the ability to look at tips and who has checked into this location courtesy of FourSquare.
The mobile experience is the same thing. If you want to check out the Tipperary Pub mobile page.
On this page you will notice the reviews from TripAdvisor, checkins/tips from FourSquare as well as the photos from FourSquare.
So what’s next.
We are working on bringing more of these content partnerships into place. Soon we will be opening up the ID’s of our partner venue’s through YellowAPI which will then make it super easy for developers to mash up content just like we did on YellowPages.ca. If you have local content that can be mapped to a specific location in Canada that you think might be useful, please don’t hesitate to contact me.